Bargaining Team is met with a wage and funds counter-proposal in the form of a framework to settle
Bargaining Team Report for the Week of Oct 23, 2023
This week the bargaining team (BT) met at our regular weekly meeting on Monday Oct. 23. The BT discussed new Equity proposals and continued working towards our goal to have all or almost all remaining proposals presented at the GMM on October 31, to then be presented on November 7 to the employer.
Oct. 27 was a bargaining day. The day commenced with the Employer bringing forward a counter-proposal on wages and funds in the form of a “Memorandum of Settlement for a Renewal Collect Agreement” in which they proposed an 11% cumulative wage increase for all three units along with a 1% increase for certain funds in the next CA.
This counter-proposal came as something of a surprise since the Employer had been withholding any counters on monetary proposals for two months, despite increasing pressure from multiple unions on campus to bargain fair wages after the unconstitutional Bill 124 was struck down. Representatives of all unions who are part of the Cross-Campus Alliance, including members of our bargaining team, heard a presentation on the university’s financial standing on October 23. We heard that the administration’s significant reliance on international student fees, and the volatility of international student enrollment has diminished the university’s revenues, and that there has been no contingency planning to uphold the wage reopener clauses the Employer negotiated with all unions that bargained under Bill 124.
Subsequent to this presentation, when we met on October 27, the employer presented their wage and funds counter-proposal by way of a framework for settlement. We are told that this incomplete package will be filled out with further proposals by November 17, 2023.
This framework proposes a 3% retroactive increase for members who worked in the 2022-23 school year, to be paid to members who are still employees at the date of ratification. This means that any members who worked from 2020-22 will not be retroactively compensated for that work nor will any members who no longer hold a contract when the new collective agreement is ratified. While the Employer confirmed that this 3% retroactive increase would raise the floor that the next collective agreement’s wage increases would build upon, we are concerned about how many members would be deemed ineligible to benefit from even this modest increase. Moreover, their counter-proposal would only provide retroactive pay for one of three years of the period where our members’ wages were constrained by the unconstitutional Bill 124.
On August 29, we presented a wage proposal to the Employer that included three pieces: retroactive increases for the Bill 124 era, increases over the next collective agreement, and inflation indexation. For the retroactive piece, we proposed increases of 6% per year, over and above the 1% increases stipulated in the 2020–2023 collective agreement. In addition, we proposed a 7% increase in years one and two of the next CA. In year three, we proposed an increase of 5% or the rate of inflation for the Greater Toronto Area, whichever was higher. Furthermore, we proposed that wages be indexed to inflation in this manner in subsequent years.
The Employer proposed wage increases of 3%, 2.5%, and 2% over the three years of the 2023-2026 collective agreement. These increases would build upon the 3% retroactive increase for 2022-23, which means that the Employer’s proposal amounts to a cumulative wage increase of 11.01%. Our membership experienced a loss of real wages of 10.57% over the period of 2020 to 2023. An 11.01% cumulative wage increase would allow us to scarcely break even as of 2023 (if it was implemented immediately) and does not factor in current and future inflation. With the average annual rate of inflation for 2023 hovering around 3.8%, the Bank of Canada projects an average annual rate of inflation of 3.5% over the next year, and decreasing to a rate of 2% by 2025. Given these projections of sustained higher-than-normal inflation, the Employer’s wage counter-proposal would further erode the real wages of our membership. The Employer also proposed a mere 1% increase to only certain funds and no increases or improvements to our Sun Life health benefits; any funds or benefits that are not included in the wage settlement framework would not be improved or increased in the next collective agreement.
In further contrast to our initial wage proposal, the employer does not want to entertain inflation indexation, stating that inflation is too volatile to plan for in budgeting. As such, the Employer is willing to pay inadequate wages to our bargaining units in order to avoid changes to their bottom line.
This counter-proposal is simply inadequate given what we have heard about the hardships our members have been experiencing to cover rent, food, and other necessities, as well as to afford services essential to wellbeing. And 3903 members are not alone in finding it hard to survive on York pay, or in their determination to fight for fair wages: we have heard similar struggles and strong will from the members of the Cross-Campus Alliance
The BT has been working on a revised timeline to better reflect the current status of bargaining. This will be shared with the membership at the GMM on October 31.
Get Involved! Upcoming Bargaining Meetings
We’re continuing with a busy month of bargaining. In keeping with the principle of open bargaining, all members are encouraged to attend bargaining meetings (the regular weekly meetings and our meetings with the Employer). You can see more details about that and other meetings below, and we want members to know you are free to come and go from our meetings with the ER as your schedules require: you don’t have to show up right at the start or stay until the end—but of course, if you can stay, please do!
Check the CUPE 3903 website’s calendar for any updates.
Bargaining Meetings with the Employer
This month’s bargaining meetings are taking place in a hybrid format. Join us in person in Kaneff Tower 512 (located just east of York Lanes) or online by registering in advance using the links below.
Tuesday Nov 7 – 1PM-5PM
Friday Nov 17 – 10AM-5PM
Friday Nov 24 – 10AM-5PM
Thursday Nov 30 – 1PM-5PM (Online)
Bargaining Team Meetings
Oct 30, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM
Nov 6, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM
Nov 13, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM
Nov 20, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM
Nov 27, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM
General Membership Meetings
Accessibility of Bargaining Meetings
For the regular bargaining team meetings, Zoom captions will be enabled. For the bargaining meetings with the Employer, CART will be available. If you require ASL interpretation or reimbursement for childcare/caregiver/attendant care or have any other accommodation requests, please contact our Equity Officer, Nadia Kanani, at email@example.com.
Due to the high demand for ASL interpreters, we encourage members to provide, when possible, two weeks’ notice if ASL interpretation is required.